A consortium that includes Orsted has received funding from Innovation Fund Denmark for a project seeking to develop wind turbine blade recycling techniques.
The three-year DecomBlades project will investigate and develop solutions to recycle the composite material in wind turbine blades.
The project focuses on three specific processes: shredding of wind turbine blades so that the material can be reused in different products and processes, use of shredded blade material in cement production and, , a method to separate the composite material under high temperatures, also known as pyrolysis.
The other nine consortium members are LM Wind Power (GE Renewable Energy), Vestas Wind Systems, Siemens Gamesa, industrial equipment provider FLSmidth, Makeen Power, HJHansen Recycling, Energy Cluster Denmark (ECD), University of Southern Denmark (SDU) and Technical University of Denmark (DTU).
Around 85-95% of a wind turbine can be recycled, but cost-efficient recycling of composite materials remains a challenge.
LM Wind Power senior director of engineering excellence John Korsgaard said: “The wind power industry is committed to finding a sustainable way to dispose of these decommissioned wind turbine blades with respect to the environment, health and safety of workers, energy consumption and cost, and we simply don’t yet have solutions that meet all those criteria.
“To create viable, sustainable, cost-efficient solutions for recycling wind turbine blades, it is essential that composite materials from blades can be incorporated into similar resource streams and processed in the same facilities.”
Korsgaard said the DecomBlades project will focus on recycling technologies which can be upscaled to recycle the expected volumes of decommissioned wind turbine blades in the coming decades.
He said: “The investment and commitment from this cross-sector consortium represents the next step to further the growth of these recycling industries.”